Autocracy Continues to Rise

At least the New York Times is reporting on this stuff, although I worry it has to do with the growing subset of their readers that also wants to censure wrong think:

Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday.

When Viktor Orban (or righty MK in Israel) passed a law requiring not-for-profits to disclose foreign funding (because campaign finance and election meddling are vurry sirrious crimes), the EU threatened reprisals. As the New York Times noted at the time,

Prime Minister Viktor Orban . . . has moved Hungary in an increasingly illiberal direction.

Criminalizing righty dangerous minds? Well, the EU is apparently OK with that.

Also, the New York Times hilariously describes Soros as follows:

Mr. Soros, a major funder of programs that promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

At least he’s nothing like Sheldon Adelson, “casino magnate and [] prominent political donor.” That guy is toxic — can’t trust anything he touches.

Autocracy Really Rising Now . . .

I wasn’t ready to ring the alarm bells over the European crackdown on political dissidents, but it seems like the ruling elite mean business:

From the New York Times:

In a coordinated campaign across 14 states, the German police on Tuesday raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including threats, coercion and incitement to racism.

Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, whose officers conducted home searches and interrogations. But the raids also targeted two people accused of left-wing extremist content, as well as one person accused of making threats or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation.

“The still high incidence of punishable hate posting shows a need for police action,” Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said in a statement. “Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence and violence either on the street or on the internet.”

So, 36 people had their homes raided by police in a “coordinated campaign.” 34 of the victims were guilty of saying mean things about Team Left and 2 of them were guilty of saying mean things about Team Right. Goooo Diversity!

This comes as the Germans are debating even more “crackdowns” on wrong-think that will require tech companies to do their dirty work for them, or else!

The raids come as Germans are debating the draft of a new social media law aimed at cracking down on hate speech, a measure that an array of experts said was unconstitutional at a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

The measure, championed by Justice Minister Heiko Maas for passage this month, would fine Facebook, Twitter and other outlets up to $53 million (50 million euros) if they failed to remove hate speech and other forms of illegal content.

Under German law, social media users are subject to a range of punishments for posting illegal material, including a prison sentence of up to five years for inciting racial hatred.

Under the draft statute, networks must offer a readily available complaint process for posts that may amount to threats, hate speech, defamation, or incitement to commit a crime, among other offenses.

Social media outlets would have 24 hours to delete “obviously criminal content” and a week to decide on more ambiguous cases. The law, approved by Germany’s cabinet in April, would be enforced with fines of up to $53 million.

Let’s hope those “experts” are right about the constitutionality of the law, but it seems as though things have already gotten out of hand.

In case you need a reminder of how the politics of “hate” work, when a Muslim girl is brutally raped and murdered on her way home from mosque, it is a suspected hate crime . . . until the perpetrator is discovered to be an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, and then it becomes “road rage” by a “22 year old construction worker from Sterling.” NOTHING TO SEE HERE! Whew. What a relief. Just road rage . . .

Google announced that it too was going to step up its efforts to curb “extremism” online. Not to worry, Google won’t outright ban merely “offensive” content, but it does block advertising, promoting, commenting or other forms of engagement.

And A.G. Eric Schneiderman is adding Pro-Life protesters to his list of political enemies to destroy, along with tech entrepreneurs, scientists, and of course, Donald Trump.

Democracy dies in the darkness . . . is apparently the strategy.

Blood Frenzy

Live footage of the MSM reporting on Trump:screamingmin.gif

I’ve always wondered if/when the MSM would tire itself out from it’s daily outrage machine. How many times a day can they stare down an unprecedented (since yesterday) global catastrophe? It’s gotta be exhausting. I figured Trump would basically wait them out and eventually the MSM would return to mundane reporting.

It actually seemed like the MSM had eased up a bit, briefly gloating about healthcare, then turning to mild accusations of genocide-by-Trumpcare, and then genuinely distracted by humdrum ransomware.

And then Comey. Comey. RUSSIA. Comey. RUSSIA. RUSSIA. Comey. Comey. The guy they loved, then hated, and then still hated, but would have preferred better timing. CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS!!!!

When they said Trump would release the animal spirits, I’m not sure this is what they meant. The Comey firing was like blood in the water for dormant sharks.

So let’s review:

Scandal #1: Trump fired Comey to obstruct justice.

Alternative Hypothesis: There is no justice to obstruct. Trump did not fire Comey to stop an investigation because he doesn’t care about the investigation in the slightest. That’s not surprising because Trump knows there is nothing to investigate, which is also why every investigation has come up with absolutely nothing. Yes, it behooves junior staffers to believe that their work is of grave importance and the forces of evil have conspired to stop you, but there’s a tendency to overrate one’s stature in the big scheme of things. Sometimes you’re just collateral damage because you don’t matter enough to be the primary target. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’ve witnessed this phenomenon firsthand.

Trump fired Comey because he’s president and gets to appoint the head of the FBI. Trump fired Comey because Comey is not Trump’s guy, cannot control leaks in his department, and arguably bungled the non-scandal emailgate. For all the fevered headlines and leaks, there continues to be zero evidence of anything untoward with Russia . . . just a lot of fevered headlines and leaks. Inserting the adjective “shady” or “shadowy” before “ties” does not make them so. Drawing lots of confusing circles and arrows similarly does not constitute evidence. But if you’re starting assumption is that something shady happened with Russia, then every bit of circumstantial evidence gets a negative inference and becomes additional evidence to validate the original (baseless) assumption that something shady happened with Russia. It’s conspiracy all the way down.

Scandal #2: Trump leaked sensitive Israeli intel to the Russians putting the fate of the universe at risk.

Alternative Hypothesis: Trump dropped a tidbit of intel in a totally routine and unremarkable way.

The MSM is already convinced that Trump perpetrated some grievous injury without knowing what the intel was, whether Russia already knew it, how frequently such sharing occurs, whether Israel cares or whether the source is actually at risk. I mean, if it’s so friggen sensitive, then why is this anonymous source running straight to the press? “Ohmigosh! Trump just told the biggest secret to the Russians. Can you believe it?! If anyone finds out, literally millions of people will die. You won’t tell anyone, right?”

It’s straight out of Mean Girls.

Even Dennis Kucinich, playing the token opposition voice of reason, has weighed in against the MSM and these brave anonymous sources, as reported by none other than Breitbart:

Kucinich went on to say that he had read the Washington Post story very carefully and, based on his 16 years of experience in the U.S. Congress, “tracking all these things that are said about foreign policy,” that “there’s a high BS quotient going on right here.”

He added that the “meter should be going off all over town” and redirected attention to troubling leaks from the intelligence community. He said questions need to be asked about why and who within the intelligence community is leaking this information, “we don’t need to look to Russia for any affirmation here.” Kucinich went on:

Ya know we don’t need to look to Russia for any affirmation here. We need to ask questions about why is this intelligence community trying to upend the President of the United States with these leaks? Here’s the Washington Post story (holds up physical copy of the newspaper) I mean its, and all over town people are saying the President did this and that — look, I disagree with President Trump on a number of issues, but on this one, there can only be one President and somebody in the intelligence community is trying to upend this President in order to pursue a policy direction that puts us in conflict with Russia. The question is why? and who? and we need to find out.

Seriously, what’s worse? Trump “leaking” intelligence at his presidential prerogative with our sorta ally with whom we share much intelligence, or some “white house official” leaking the substance of private meeting between the president and our sorta ally with whom we share much intelligence? At least you have to think about it, right?

Trump did bad stuff with the Russians to erode our democracy.

Like what?

He leaked sensitive emails.

How do you know?

It was leaked by an anonymous inside source.

But experts like James Clapper, happy to be in the news for something other than alleged perjury, have decided (after perusing the Post article) that Trump is a certifiable threat to our national security and no one will share intelligence with us again. OK then kids, just remember to finish your homework and no cookies after 9pm.

Scandal #3: Trump expressed his “hope that [Comey] can let this [Flynn investigation] go” which is also obstruction of justice.

Alternative Hypothesis: Trump expressed his “hope that [Comey] can let this [Flynn investigation] go” because he felt that Flynn was a good guy getting a raw deal being raked over the coals by a paranoid, bloodthirsty and foaming-at-the-mouth press who had gone through the paces of an investigation that turned up absolutely nothing.

Again, to believe that there is anything nefarious about asking Comey to end the Flynn investigation, you have to believe that there is something to the Flynn investigation. If it’s just nonsense, then hoping that nonsense goes away is pretty reasonable.

To be clear, I don’t feel terribly sorry for Trump. He certainly peddled in a non-scandal or two in his day. The point is that peddling in non-scandals is obviously not disqualifying behavior, despite the MSM’s insistence to the contrary. In general, the MSM (and its feverish readers) have zero credibility to criticize anyone for fear-mongering, conspiracy peddling, fake news, bias, hypocrisy, partisanship, obstructionism, lying or undermining democratic processes or institutions.

There is no daylight between the MSM and the Democratic Party. If the political narrative is that Trump is an incompetent, intemperate buffoon who puts his own personal interests ahead of the country such that he will steal the presidency by colluding with our (new) arch-nemesis Russia (and otherwise fumble it away), then that’s the news narrative. That will be the interpretive framework by which all data are collected and analyzed and the feedback loop will be complete. It doesn’t matter that the MSM has been wrong about every one of its fevered predictions about Trump because its fevered predictions are themselves the “facts” that support the inference in favor of more fevered predictions.

There is no other way to explain the levels of cognitive dissonance that permit intelligent and sane people to celebrate bureaucratic mutiny, chant “not our president,” openly #resist and undermine the president at every turn, fulminate over a stolen presidency and count down the days to impeachment all because Trump is the one threatening to undermine our democratic institutions.

Anecdotes in Media Bias — Immigration Edition

Some people think immigrants, particularly from non-Western parts of the world, are putting the country and its citizens at risk. Other people acknowledge that assimilating foreign folks is not frictionless, but overall, the costs of immigration are overstated and the benefits are underappreciated. [And some people think any limits on immigration are just racist because there is literally no other possible hypothesis . . . more on that later.]

I fall into the second category and generally (but not in all respects) regard restrictions on immigration as consistent with their Progressive provenance, i.e. give-aways to labor cartels at the expense of low wage workers and the population at-large. In other words, I regard immigration as more good than bad for natives and immigrants alike.

A few days ago, however, a Boston couple was tragically and brutally murdered by a West African immigrant who (apparently) was previously convicted twice for robbery. As punishment for those crimes, he received a 364-day sentence because a 365-day sentence would have triggered mandatory deportation.

While this is only a single data point, it is quite plainly a data point in favor of the anti-immigration crowd. An immigrant allegedly did a truly horrible thing and it might have been prevented under a harsher regime.

That presumably explains why the New York Times determined that the story is not worth reporting. Indeed, the only coverage offered by the New York Times was a reprint of an AP story that remarkably referred to the suspect as “30-year-old Bampumim Teixeira, of Chelsea.” That’s consistent with the Washington Post, who also referred to Mr. Teixeira as “a 30-year-old from Chelsea, Mass.” There was no mention of the 364 day sentences.

The Times and Post didn’t bury the story completely, but at the very least they protected their readers from knowing that the suspect was actually from Guinea-Bissau and grew up in Cape Verde, or that a Progressive judge gamed the immigration system to protect Mr. Teixeira from deportation. That data might be used to validate arguments for stricter immigration policy and those are not allowed.  [Consider, by contrast, what the coverage would be like if the victims were PoC and the matter was being investigated as a HATE CRIME.]

If you rely on the MSM to help you make informed decisions on matters of public concern, you’re being misled. For the really important stuff, the MSM decides what you’re supposed to think and it protects your feeble mind from nasty thoughts to the contrary. It’s no wonder that Times and Post readers think anti-immigration types are out-of-their-mind racist (and generally regard their political opponents as a combination of crazy, mean and stupid) because they’re spared from any data that would suggest otherwise.

In the Age of Trump, an independent media is all the more important. Someone better alert the media.

Disgraceful Disgraces!

Did you hear? According to the New York Times, “Trump calls Hearing on Immigration Ban ‘Disgraceful.’” If you look at the headline on the front page, we learn that “Trump Attacks Judiciary for ‘Disgraceful’ Hearing on Ban.”

capture3

Well, attacking the judiciary is the hallmark of an autocrat, so that’s bad. “Lashing out” seems even worse. Maybe it was taken out of context?

Not so, says the Times. Trump was talking about having watched the hearing and said:

“I listened to a bunch of stuff last night on television that was disgraceful,” Mr. Trump said. “I think it’s sad. I think it’s a sad day. I think our security is at risk today.”

Ahhhh, well that settles it. Trump definitely called “a bunch of stuff last night on television” disgraceful. What. A. Jerk.

But seriously, who attacks the judiciary? Only a monster would do that:

Days after the Supreme Court announced its opinion in 2010, the president warned about the dangers that “revers[ing] a century of law” would bring to our democracy by opening “the floodgates for special interests.” Last year, on the fifth anniversary of the decision, Obama (a former constitutional law professor and sitting president at the time of the decision) said that the “Citizens United decision was wrong, and it has caused real harm to our democracy.”

I have to take a moment to note the eventual (and doubly delicious) irony of the grassroots, small-money outsider (republican) whipping the big-spending, corporate big wig (democrat) and putting the lie to the whole ‘money in politics’ boogeyman.

More importantly, it reflects a recurring flaw in the Trumpsteria [Trumpolexia? Trumpoplectic is definitely a word I intend to use]. Whatever the demerits of Trump’s autocratic and disdainful style, the Democratic party just spent eight years reveling in disdainful autocracy. EO’s were Obama’s thing (although he wasn’t the first), and so was berating the judiciary when it didn’t go his way.

I mean, how do you simultaneously complain about a “stolen” SCOTUS seat, while bemoaning “attacks” on the court’s legitimacy? I guess the same way you take to the streets to protest violence, intolerance and fear, when it’s your team perpetrating most of the violence, intolerance and fear.

Fear Mongering

My favorite contra-Trump is “He’s a an alarmist and a fear monger and if he becomes president the country is GOING TO HELL!”

I’ll have a longer post on the politics of fear, but in the meantime, stuff like this makes it hard for me to take you seriously MSM:

Hard to Disagree . . .

The New York Times, quoting Bannon:

“You’re the opposition party,” Mr. Bannon said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”

Mr. Bannon mostly referred to the “elite” or “mainstream” media, but he cited The New York Times and The Washington Post by name.

“The paper of record for our beloved republic, The New York Times, should be absolutely ashamed and humiliated,” Mr. Bannon said. “They got it 100 percent wrong.”